Restaurants that make me feel like I cannot make the food are my favorites. Now don’t get me wrong, I can make anything on a plate that I put my mind to but there are some things that just seem painfully nauseating to make. Paying for these things is the better option. Pabu is one of those places. Located in the Baltimore Harbor East, Pabu has the largest sake allocation in the country and an innovative menu that’s making waves in the East Coast top dining destination guides. Lead by the food guru, Chef Michael Mina, Pabu features Izakaya-style dining through a menu lined with small plates, sushi, sashimi and sake including the exclusive Koshu sake.
At this point, I was still afraid of trying another bad piece of sushi, which in hindsight; Pabu would have been the perfect place to erase my past memories of bad sushi experiences. Needless to say, I did not get to indulge in the sushi and sashimi selection at Pabu but I still left incredibly stuffed and pleased. This says a lot about a restaurant that specializes in sushi and sashimi where a person can leave feeling totally satisfied without having the restaurants highlights. I stuck with the grilled dishes, broth based dishes and sweet “happy” endings.
The “Happy Spoon” wielded my attention with my curiosity landing on just how happy I would be with this one bite dish. A spoonful of oyster, uni, ikura and crème fraiche could make the Grinch smile. The charred shishito peppers zap the tongue with heat and then remind you that their harmless by leaving little spice behind.
The chicken had no chance in this kitchen with what Girl Meets Food coined as “the deconstructed chicken” also known as Kokoro, sake-cured chicken heart. A tad crispier than necessary, the hearts reminded me of miniature chicken thighs on skewers.
Since my constant craving for ramen has not subsided, Michael’s Chicken Noodle made the final cut. Shreds of chicken in dashi (basic broth for Japanese soups) commingled with ramen noodles made me want to order about two more bowls.
Pabu has good food but they have even better dessert (funny, those words are actually coming out of my mouth) where the Green Tea Sundae has me actually craving ice cream just a tad. Topped with hibiscus meringues, who needs hot fudge to finish off a sundae?! Though the food is always my primary focus at any restaurant, service and price play a huge role in the experience. Pabu exceeded my expectations in the price with price points landing between $3-$22 and a tasting menu under $50.
Have you heard enough about my getaway to Baltimore?? What can I say: I loved it. Shockingly, up the road is a quant getaway with good food…and people wonder why I love living in DC…